Outstanding three-year-old Kingston Hill (3c Mastercraftsman-Audacieuse, by Rainbow Quest) brought a first crop Classic success for Mastercraftsman on Saturday when winning the G1 St Leger at Doncaster.
The Roger Varian-trained colt, who also won last season’s G1 Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster, was produced with a well-timed run by jockey Andrea Atzeni to score by a length and a quarter.
“I rode Kingston Hill like the best horse in the race, which I thought he was, and he travelled beautifully in behind. He is so laid back and he just goes to sleep,” said Atzeni. “When I pulled him out, he was always going to get there.
“I’m happy for the horse as he showed us last year what he might be capable of and also for Roger, who has trained him really well this year. It’s great to win races like this, not only for Roger, but also for Paul Smith, who is a lovely man.”
It was a first Classic success for Varian with his first runner in the St Leger and the Newmarket handler was understandably elated by the result.
“I am so pleased for the horse to get the credit he deserves, for the owner, Paul Smith – he’s a great man – and all the team at home working so hard. For Kingston Hill to win a Classic – it’s brilliant, brilliant,” said Varian.
“We’ll obviously see how he is coming out of this race but, assuming he’s 100%, we’ll have to look at the Arc.”
Kingston Hill is owned by Paul Smith, whose father Derrick’s colours have been carried by many stars trained at Ballydoyle.
“It’s brilliant to win a race like this. There will be a few more tears tonight – I was crying as he passed the post!” said the winning owner. “He’s been a bit unlucky all year with the ground but we took the plunge to run him and it was the right thing to do.
“It’s great for Roger and the team and I think he’s made the right call each time. Andrea has given him a great ride as the plan was to give him one long run down the outside and that’s exactly what’s happened.
“It’s a dream come true. My dad came over especially to watch the race and now he’s off to go and see Australia (at Leopardstown). I am so pleased – he has been along with me for the ride the whole way.”
Kingston Hill was bred by Ridgecourt Stud and bought for 230,000gns as a yearling at Tattersalls by Charlie Gordon-Watson.